A south Georgia man who pleaded guilty to robbing 23 banks, including some in the Augusta area, as the notorious "Limping Bandit" likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Douglas, Ga., resident Cecil Stephen Haire, 52, will be sentenced Nov. 30 in Charleston, S.C., and faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the 23 bank robbery counts.
Aiken authorities have said he was a suspect in the robbery of the Security Federal Bank on Laurens Street on Nov. 20, 2007.
According to the FBI's Columbia office, Haire also iwas suspected in a robbery of the Carolina First Bank in Edgefield on Jan. 3, 2008.
U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt Jr. on Thursday scheduled the sentencing for Haire, who has been jailed without bail since his arrest last year.
Because he is a felon with eight prior convictions and there is no federal parole, Haire could spend the rest of his life in federal prison even if he doesn't receive the maximum 575-year sentence possible in the case.
Haire traveled across the Southeast robbing small town banks in a discreet manner. He stole at least $15,600 in the holdups, an FBI investigation showed.
Left with a limp from childhood polio, Haire pleaded guilty on June 7 to robbing 13 banks in South Carolina - some more than once - four banks in North Florida and three each in South Georgia and Alabama from June 2006 until his arrest on July 17, 2009.
His string of robberies ended when local police arrested him 20 minutes after he robbed the National Bank of South Carolina in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Police recovered a BB gun that Haire used to holdup the bank, and the clothes he wore during the robbery, U.S. Attorney William Nettles of the South Carolina District has said.
Haire, who lived modestly in Douglas and who friends described as affable, confessed to the robberies immediately.
Until his real name was known, FBI agents dubbed Haire the "Limping Bandit" because many of the bank tellers who were robbed said noticed the robber had a limp when he walked away from them.
No one was injured in the robberies.
Haire was convicted of seven counts of armed robbery and one count of bank robbery in Georgia in 1986. He was released on parole in 2006.
teresa.stepzinski@jacksonville. com, (912) 264-0405